Rotisserie Standing Rib Roast

For my Mom’s birthday, we had a standing rib roast that we cooked using the rotisserie on Dad’s Weber charcoal grill. We were serving six, so we bought one that was a little over 8 lbs (3 ribs). We needed some leftovers for steak sandwiches!

For a side, after we pulled the meat off, I put the rack on the grill and smoke warmed twice baked potatoes. We used an extra set of ribs from the butcher to make a beef stock in the slow cooker and used that plus the meat juices to create an au jus.

Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast

6-8 lb rib roast
kosher salt
olive oil

Season the rib roast with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and let sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, 24 hours before you are ready to cook. Remove from fridge 4 hours before grilling.

Rub the roast with olive oil and sprinkle salt on the meat, leaving the fat cap unsalted.

Run the rotisserie skewer through the center of the meat. Secure with the forks once it is balanced. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking and medium high heat. Place a drip pan down. Use chunks or chips of seasoned wood for smoke. I chose hickory.

Place the rotisserie on the grill and start the motor. Let it turn for one to two hours or until the internal temperature of the meat (not hitting bone or skewer) reaches 120 degrees F for rare. It takes about 10-15 minutes per pound. Ours was done in 90 minutes.

Using heavy gloves, remove the spit from the grill and then the spit from the meat. Let rest for at least 10 minutes. Add the drippings to your gravy or au jus.

Advertisements

Mushroom Barley Risotto

For the last Monday of 2018, I went meatless. To do so, I used barley to make a risotto. Barley is low in calories, high in fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals, so it was a perfect way to end the old year on a healthy note. I added to it mushrooms that I had sautéed in sherry. Of course, you could substitute vegetable or mushroom broth and olive oil for butter to make it entirely vegetarian.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

4 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup pearl barley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (I used portobello and shiitake), sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup sherry

Bring chicken stock to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet over low heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add barley, thyme, bay leaf and stir to combine. Pour in 2 cups of the warm chicken stock; bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most of stock is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Allow the stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until barley is tender, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in another large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Reduce heat to medium and stir in sherry. Cover and cook until mushrooms are tender and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Mix mushrooms into the barley. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Spoon risotto into bowls and serve immediately.

Grilled Chicken for Remembrance and Courage

As we close out 2018, I’ve been thinking back about the past year. It has been quite a yeasty time – personally, politically, environmentally and even culinarily. We’ve lost some powerful voices but have also seen many new champions step up to answer the challenges facing us.

In the spirit of endings and new beginnings, I decided to make a grilled chicken recipe to celebrate the art of constructive remembering and helping gird our loins to face another year. As the flower folks tell us: rosemary for remembrance and thyme for courage.

So, my New Year’s wish is for you to have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you’re going and the insight to know when you’ve gone too far.

Rosemary Thyme Gilled Chicken

8 bone in chicken thighs

4 black tea bags (I used Lemon Lift)
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon peppercorns

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make 1 quart of strong tea by steeping tea bags for 15 minutes. Add in salt, brown sugar and peppercorns and stir until salt and sugar have dissolved. Add in 1 quart of ice and stir until all the ice has melted. Pour over the chicken and brine the chicken overnight in the fridge.

Rinse the chicken and store in the fridge until an hour before you set up your grill.

In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together the rosemary, butter, thyme, garlic, zest, and salt and pepper, until combined well. Use your hands to smear the butter mixture all over the brined chicken. Melt the remaining butter.

Over a grill set for indirect cooking, place the chicken skin side down. Cook for 15 minutes before flipping the chicken so the skin is up. Baste the chicken with the butter mixture. Continue grilling for 45 minutes more or until it registers 170 degrees F. Baste after 30 minutes and again as you pull the meat off the grill.

 

Great Balls of Sausage

Here is a nice appetizer or party snack. This recipe for sausage balls can easily be scaled up – our version makes 50 two-bite balls.

While you can mix these with your hands, a stand mixer will ensure the best incorporation of all the ingredients. Make sure the cheese and sausage is well mixed before adding the Bisquick Baking Mix.

 

Sausage Balls

1 lb regular bulk sausage (I prefer mild pork sausage)
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups Bisquick
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a stand mixer, combine sausage and cheese. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add in Bisquick and pepper and continue to mix.

Form into golfball sized balls and place on racks above rimmed baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes or until sausage is cooked through.

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

None of us really wanted to cook breakfast, so we started the breakfast casserole the night before by thawing the tater tots. Hash browns would work as well, as we were trying to create a potato crust.

Adding a few eggs, milk, salsa, cheese, bacon and seasonings and putting it all to bake first thing in the morning, had a lovely casserole by the time everyone was up and about.

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

about 30 tater tots, enough to cover the bottom of a pie plate
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup (about 6 slices) bacon, diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

The night before, butter a deep dish pie plate. Place a layer of tater tots to cover the bottom of the plate. Put the plate in the fridge for them to thaw overnight.

In the morning, mash the tater tots with a fork to form a bottom crust.

Scramble the eggs together with the seasonings, milk and salsa. Sprinkle half the bacon over the tater tots and pour half the egg mixture over. Sprinkle on half the cheese. Pour the rest of the eggs into pie plate and then sprinkle over remaining bacon and cheese. Let sit while the oven comes to 325 degrees F.

Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until top is golden and bubbly.

Serves 6.

Bacon Cheddar Bites

I did a marriage between Cheese Nibbles and Anna Olson’s Bacon Cheddar Shortbread. It was a marriage made in heaven! The result is a tasty treat to set out as a holiday appetizer (or to gobble up yourself before any guests arrive).

Chill your dough – ones on the left were chilled 2 hours, the ones on the right 1 hour

The dough can also be frozen and thawed in the fridge for baking later.

Bacon Cheddar Bites

5 strips crispy cooked bacon, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
3 cups coarsely grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
coarse salt, for topping (optional)

Using a food processor, pulse the bacon with the flour and seasonings until the bacon is finely chopped. Add the butter and pulse until blended, then add the cheddar and pulse until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into 2 logs, wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least two hours. If you don’t wait for the dough to firm, your nibbles will spread out a bit during cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Working with one log at a time, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice coins about ¼-inch thick (or roll out and cut to size). Arrange on the baking sheet, leaving about ½-inch between the cookies. Sprinkle the tops lightly with salt, if desired.

Bake for 18 minutes until the shortbread are lightly browned on the bottom. Rotate the pan midway through cooking.

Cool the cookies on the tray for 10 minutes before removing and storing in an airtight container.

Cinnamon Chocolate Pepper Cookies

I’m still in a holiday baking mood, so I made these spicy chocolate rounds that are almost like eating a cup of Mexican hot chocolate in cookie form. I dusted some with cinnamon sugar and others with red and green sanding sugar. They’ve got a sneaky little bite to them from the black and cayenne peppers, so make sure you have a tall glass of milk handy when eating.

Instead of vanilla, I added some Rum Chata. The mixture of rum, cream and spices gave the cookies a delicious twist.

Cinnamon Chocolate Pepper Cookies

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Rum Chata (or Mexican vanilla)
cinnamon sugar and sanding sugar

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and peppers. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the Rum Chata (or vanilla) and then slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.

Divide the dough in half and form into six inch logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to firm for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a shallow plate, place cinnamon sugar or sanding sugar.

Working with one roll at a time, either cut rounds off the roll of chilled dough or roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Gently toss the cookies in the sugar to evenly coat. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating pan midway through. Edges will look dry when done. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an air tight container.